So it appears that Funky Winkerbean has jumped ten years forward from the present to … the present. And you know what? It really doesn’t bother me that much. It’s just an extreme manifestation of the comics chronology problem that only For Better Or For Worse has avoided — everybody stays the same age, but the strip goes on for decades and the cultural references remain more or less current. Funky Winkerbean’s original cast was in high school for something like twenty years, which at least as much a violation of laws of time and space as the current age jump.
For whatever reason I’ve been kind of fixated on the problems that arrested chronology is causing in Zits lately. It’s definitely been discussed that Jeremy’s dad Walt, at least, is an ex-hippie, and I think they’ve gone as far as to mention that he actually went to Woodstock. My parents are part of the first wave of baby boomers (mom born in ’46, dad in ’48) and were both at Woodstock (separately, before they knew each other); at 23 and 21, I have to imagine that they’d have been among the younger people there. So, even if Walt had managed to sneak up there at 16 or 17, that’d make him at minimum 55 today, and probably more like 60 — starting to push it just a bit for someone with a 15-year-old son. This was a non-issue when the strip was launched 10 years ago, but it’s only going to get more unlikely as time goes on. Retconning the ages can have its own jarring effects. When I first began reading Sally Forth, I was the same age as Hillary, and so naturally assumed Ted and Sally were the same ages as my parents, an assumption that went unchallenged in my mind despite obvious evidence until a flashback-to-college storyline a few years ago that featured Sally (or was it Ted, I forget now) wearing a Sonic Youth t-shirt.
While I think this series of Zits strips have been cute, I also have to say that I find it a little unlikely that even a contemporary teenager interested in rock music to the extent that he plays in a garage band is only now discovering the Beatles. There was a funny story in the paper here a couple of years ago about the high-school aged rockers of today and their ongoing love of dinosaur acts (and honestly, who doesn’t like to get the Led out? I ask you).
None of this monkeying around with time in any way justifies the concept of Walt and Jeremy “hav[ing]” Connie “in common.”
Slylock Fox, 11/15/07
Oh, brave Max! Noble Max! Stupid, stupid Max! I know you’re desperate to do something useful for once in your life, but trying to catch an enormous red-suited gorilla-pimp who probably weighs 20,000 times as much as you do is not the answer.
I love that the gorilla-pimp is carrying his money around is the classic burlap sacks with dollar signs on the side. Do you think he carries the sacks around and makes the ladies in his employ dump his cut of their earnings into them? Does it make him feel like a big man?
Mary Worth, 11/15/07
…aaaand here’s the moment where absolute power officially corrupts Mary absolutely. “I’d hate to make it obvious that I am the unquestioned dictator of this joint, and that rules don’t apply to me! It might make it more difficult to force everyone else to obey the arbitrary laws I’ve laid down if they saw that I can just have them changed on a whim. Who’s a good dog? Yes, you’re a good dog!”
Ho ho, there’s nothing zanier than ecological disaster! See, it’s funny because he dumped viscous oil on those seals to shut them up. Soon they will be dead! Mercy.